Discovery sheds light on a wartime mystery, revealing the final resting place of a vessel lost during the Second World War.
The waters off the coast of Norway have unveiled a long-hidden secret. The wreckage of the British submarine HMS Thistle, which sank during World War II, has been discovered after 83 years. The discovery was made by Norway's Institute of Marine Research and the MAREANO program during a routine seabed mapping cruise. The submarine's identification was confirmed only recently, following a subsequent cruise.
The HMS Thistle embarked on its final voyage on April 10, 1940. Tragically, it was torpedoed by a German submarine, leading to the loss of all 53 crew members on board.
The exact location of the sinking had remained uncertain due to navigational methods of the time, which relied on bearings and squares rather than today's GPS technology. This made the submarine's last surface position ambiguous, and it was unclear how far it might have drifted before settling on the ocean floor.
The wreck now lies approximately 525 feet deep near Rogaland. Alongside the HMS Thistle, six other wrecks were observed during the spring cruise, with only one being previously identified. The area also revealed lost shipping containers and what is believed to be an aircraft engine from the war era.
Given its wartime sinking, the HMS Thistle is considered a war grave. As such, the British Royal Navy retains ownership rights under maritime law, ensuring the site's protection and respect.